By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam
• And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful. (4:64)
This is a direct Divine order to seek intercession of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and this verse is Mutlaq (not restricted to any time). None of the classical commentators of Qur'an said that it only applied to the Zahiri Hayat (Physical life) of Prophet (pbuh).
The above mentioned ayah showcases the importance of ‘supplication’ to Allah Kareem through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and in furtherance to it we find that we are asked to visit the pious graves (Mazarat) of the holy saints and ask them for supplication in the name of Prophet (pbuh) to God, the Almighty. God the Almighty is all Merciful and accepts the repentance of all His servants but it must be adhered to as guided i.e. to reach Him through the Most revered Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We are asked to recite Darood in the beginning and in the end of every Dua. There are various kinds of Darood but the Darood e Ibrahimi, the one recited in every Namaz, is the best.
Intercession has been a law of the nature since the very beginning of the universe. This universe has been brought into existence for the sake of and to glorify the persona of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We all know it is He who has command on everything here and hereafter. He is the owner of Life and Death. It is He who runs the universe. And we must also know that it is He who never takes credit for anything. There is a very popular saying in Urdu, (حیلہ روزی، بہانہ موت) livelihood through one or the other person or reason and death because of one or the other excuse. Have we ever stopped for a moment to think why we say it was because of a certain teacher that I got successful, it was because of so and so Sir that I got the job, so and so died because of a certain illness or accident or was shot down or died in a plane crash. Does anyone have the power of arranging a livelihood for anyone? We cannot do it for ourselves not to talk of others. Does anyone have the power of taking anyone’s life? I do not think God the Almighty has bestowed this power to any of His servants, except the revered Prophets, that too for the sake of miracles .Miracles do and will happen in our lives but only if we ask Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to intercede between us and the God, the Almighty.
Why we have been writing: To the Principal, through the Class Teacher, To the Prime Minister through the PMO, it is not because the Principal Sb or the Prime Minister Sb does not love us or takes us as an irresponsible person, rather it is only because they know the intermediaries better and are much closer to them than we are. Allah, the Almighty is All Knower, He knows our necessities. He has commanded us to ask but through the beloved Prophet (pbuh) and or through His many exalted Servants.
Time and again we are ordained by Allah Kareem to seek the means of nearness and approach to Him through His exalted Prophets, Ambiya Kareem and Aulias to get His forgiveness and to get successful here and hereafter. Allah Kareem says, in Surah Al-Ma’idah, Ayah 35:
• O’ you who have believed, fear Allah and seek the means [of nearness] to Him and strive in His cause that you may succeed.
Proof of Intercession from Hadith
There are various proofs of ‘intercession’, or ‘Waseela’ in Ahadith of almost every version, as the following ones:
• Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah writes: When Adam (A S) made a mistake, he made Du'a like this: ' O Allah! forgive my mistake with the Waseela of Muhammad (pbuh). Allah asked the Prophet Adam (pbuh), (rhetorically) how he knew about Muhammad (pbuh)
• Adam, (A S) answered “when you created me, I lifted my head and saw: (لا الہ اللہ محمد رسول اللہ), there is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger, written on the throne. Therefore I knew that this person must be of a very high status. Otherwise you would not have written his name with yours. Allah Ta'ala then said I have forgiven you. He will be the last Messenger in your children and I have created you because of him.
• ("Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah vol. 2 page 150" also Tareekh Ibn Kathir in Story of Adam)
The way of asking God’s mercy and forgiveness has been prevalent since the time of Prophet Adam (as).We all are Adam’s children, so let us follow him taking him to be wiser than what we all are.
Scholars other than Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah have also written narrations describing the importance of ‘intercession ‘like Hafiz Suyuti, Bayhaqi and Tabrani.
Qadi Ayad writes;
• Imam Malik was present at the blessed grave of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) where-upon the Caliph Haroon approached and asked him 'Which direction shall I face when I supplicate?'
• Imam Malik replied 'Why turn your face away from Rasool Allah [pbuh] when the Prophet [pbuh] is a Waseela for you as he was for your Father Adam '(A S). Turn your face towards the Prophet [pbuh] and make Istishfaa (request for Dua).
• (“Kitab As-Shifa, Chapter Ziyarat un-Nabi by Qadi Ayad”)
Above mentioned narration teaches us to visit graves (Mazaarat) of revered servants of God, the Almighty and to request them to intercede between us and Allah Kareem. Intercession (Waseela) of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh), during the Dua, was prevalent even when he was a child, such as Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab Najdi states:
• When our Prophet Muhammad, (pbuh), was a child, rain had not fallen upon Makkah for a long period of time. His Uncle Abu Talib prayed for rain through the Waseela of our Prophet (pbuh).
• “Mukhtasar Seerat ur Rasul, By Ibn Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab al Najdi”
In the following Hadees of Hafiz Ibn Kathir we will see how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself described Waseela and its importance in supplication to the God, the Almighty:
• The Prophet (pbuh) said that seven people will always remain in my Ummah, and with their Waseela, Allah will provide rain, help, and food for the Ummah.
• Another hadith states that the Prophet (pbuh) said that thirty Abdaal (saints) will always stay in my Ummah, and with their Waseela, Allah Almighty will provide rain, help and food.
• Qatada says, Hasan al Basri was one of them. (Tafsir ibn Kathir Surah Al-Baqura under Verse 252)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) exhorts his Ummah to make him a Waseela while supplicating to Allah Kareem for being sure of their Dua being accepted. Hafiz Ibn Taimiyah writes Uthman bin Haneef (r.a) narration as follows:
• A blind person came to Rasool Allah (pbuh) and said: 'Pray to Allah that He bestows me with sight'. Rasool Allah (pbuh) replied: 'Perform ablution, pray two Rak'at Salaah and then supplicate to Allah in this way: 'Ya Allah, I ask You through the Waseela of the Prophet (pbuh); Allah Subhana wa ta'ala returned his sight.
• (“Al-Tawasul by Hafidhh Ibn Taimiyah, page 80, he obtained information from these books Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Haakim, Imam Bukhari in Tareekh, Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Tibraani”)
There are some sects within us who call visiting Mazaraat and making intercession wrong. I do not say anything in this regard as God is the only authority to decide the wrong and the right. We do not have to judge. We have to ask for our and our brethren’s forgiveness from Allah Kareem through the intercession of His most beloved Prophet (pbuh).
Many of us, such as Salafi, Wahabi and Deobandi brothers, who, as I am told, follow Hazrat Ibn Taymiyyah, should read what he has said in his book Al-Qaida Al-Jaleela Fit- Tawwasuli Wal-Waseel with commentary of Rabi'a bin Hadi 'Umayr al-Mudkhali, Professor in the Islamic University of Madinah al-Munawwara, page 6, paragraph 9, writes:
• "Muslims agreed that the Prophet (SAWS) is the greatest of creation, the highest in rank and superiority and the most glorified and honoured in the presence of Allah (SWT) and no other creation is better to Allah than the Prophet (SAWS) and no other shafa'a is greater than his shafa'a. ['aazamu al-khalqi jaahan 'ind-Allahi laa jaahun li - makhluqin 'inda-Allahi 'aazamu min jaahihi wa laa shafa'atun 'aazamu min shafa'atih]
He mentioned in the same book, page 4, Para. 4:
• "The Prophet (SAWS) is the intercessor of all creation [shafi'a al-khala'iq] and the owner of the Maqaam al-Mahmoud, that was the aspiration those who came before and those who came after, and he is the greatest of intercessors [shufa'a] and the highest in glory and superiority in Allah's Presence."
Above mentioned book describes on page 3, Para. 2, as has been mentioned above:
"Allah has sent his Prophet (SAWS) to Jinn and Mankind and everyone has to follow him and believe in him and to follow him inwardly (Baatin) and outwardly (Zaahir) and to believe in the Prophet (SAWS) and to follow him is the only way for Allah (SWT) and the only way for the religion of Allah (SWT) and it is the worship of Allah(SWT) and it is the obedience to Allah (SWT), and all these are the way of the Friends of Allah [awliya-Allah], and all this is the means [waseela] that Allah (SWT) has ordered His servants to follow when He said in the Holy Qur'an -
• "Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanu ittaqullaha wabtaghaw ilayhi al-waseela” (Meaning - O' Ye who believe! Fear Allah (SWT) and seek the means of approach unto Him". And the means to seek Allah (SWT) is that one who will ask Allah (SWT) by the intercession and the means of faith in His Prophet (SAWS) in and following him". [Al-Maaida - 35]
He writes on page 12, Para. 18:
"It is agreed between the Sahaba, and the Tabi'een and the Four Imams Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi and Hanbali, that the Prophet (pbuh) will intercede for the sinners of his Ummah."
He continues on the same page 12, Para 20:
"And the Sahaba and the Tabi'een and the Four Imams of Islam, all of them confirmed the authentic hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) that Allah (SWT) will take out from Hell people after He punishes them for whatever length of time he likes with the Shafa'a of the Prophet (SAWS). And Allah (SWT) will take out of Hell some others by the Shafaa'a of other than the Prophet (SAWS)".
And on page 17, Para 28, Ibn Taymiyyah writes:
• ["wa lafdhu at-tawassul qad yuradu bihi thalaathata umoor"] The word intermediation [tawassul] refers to three different meanings. Two of them are agreed upon among the Muslims.
• "The first of the two is the root of faith and Islam [hua asal al-eemaan wal-islam wa hua at-tawassul bil eemaani bihi] and it is the intercession with the Prophet (SAWS) by means of the belief in him and to obey him (SAWS).
• Second is by means of his supplication [du'a] and by means of his intercession [Shafa'a],…and whoever denied this, he is a Kafir and a renegade [Murtad]. He must repent, and if he does not, he will be killed. And no single scholar can deny the intermediation [at-tawassul] of his supplication and his intercession [Shafa'a]."
واللہ عالم با لصواب (And God knows the best what is right)